I Promise You...
Dear Zoey and Maggie...
I promise you this. I will do my best to surround you with knowledge and culture, with ideas and beliefs, and with experiences and education, but I will never test you. Oh, society will. Your life will undoubtedly be full of tests. It's how we do things these days, but I will never test you. You will never have to prove yourself.
I feel, very strongly, that being able to immerse yourself in that kind of wonder, but without ever feeling the need to perform, can be a powerfully freeing thing. I think that it can build as much confidence as any Olympic hopeful who dreams past challenge after met challenge. I think it can be the most liberating gift that I could ever give you.
You are good enough...as you are...right now...curious but not necessarily knowledgeable. Excited, though not necessarily prepared. You don't have to perform to satisfy me. With luck we will teach you how to satisfy yourself...how to test yourself...how to demand more of yourself...but I will never demand that you prove yourself to me.
I want you to want things on your own. I want you to dream, and to have expectations of yourself. No one else's could possibly mean more. I want you to be curious, and adventurous, and willing to try...unafraid to fail. I will never measure you against anything but yourself.
I think it will be a very hard thing to do. I know it will be hard to watch you hurl yourself into mistakes, but you'll do it anyway. I can't protect you from them, and I shouldn't. All I can promise is that I won't test you...that I won't demand that you prove your worth to me...ever. I can promise you that, and do my best to keep it.
You have nothing to prove to me. I have been amazed every day of your life so far, what more could you possibly prove by being any more than what you already are?
This is no race. There is no passing grade, nor winning score. You are who you are, and how could I possibly love you any less, or more than I do now? I promise you that the only measuring stick that will ever be placed next to you will be to mark your height on the wall by the stairs.